Courtesy Brandywine River Museum
Published June 28, 2016
It’s easy to feel like you’ve walked into a painting when you step foot upon the picturesque terrain surrounding the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. The museum sits on 15 acres of woodlands and colorful floodplain meadows.
This landscape has been the inspiration for countless works of art for more than three generations, and today it acts as an impressive backdrop for inspired events at the Brandywine River Museum. The museum is home to an outstanding collection of American art that aims to highlight the Brandywine Valley, but it is most known for its numerous holdings from one of the most celebrated families in American art, the Wyeth family of artists.
N.C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth and Jamie Wyeth have all had a special attachment to the area since N.C. Wyeth used his proceeds from his “Treasure Island” illustrations to purchase 18 acres in the river valley in 1911 to set up his home and studio. It was here that he raised his family, proudly proclaiming the land to be “the most glorious sight in the township.” Today, his home and studio are a beautifully preserved piece of the museum’s landscape, where visitors can tour inside to catch a glimpse into the artist’s life.
The museum also offers tours of N.C. Wyeth’s and Andrew Wyeth’s studios and of the famous Kuerner Farm that acted as the major source for many of Andrew’s most eminent paintings, watercolors and drawings. During normal hours, the Brandywine River Museum paints a beautiful picture of the American experience with its collection of works that span six galleries, including a series of permanent and changing exhibitions; but after hours, the halls play host to weddings, corporate events and other elegant celebrations.
After 6 p.m., the museum opens for private events that can last until midnight. The museum can accommodate up to 120 people for a seated dinner and up to 600 for a cocktail reception. Along with offering full access to the galleries for two hours during events, the museum also rents out spaces within the halls, among them the restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the river, which can seat up to 80 guests for dinner; the lecture room, which can seat up to 120 guests for dinner; and the courtyard and special exhibition gallery.
The Brandywine River Museum provides groups with dining options from its Millstone Café. The cafe team has a range of seated dinner menus and elaborate station presentations, both including internationally and locally inspired selections made from farm-fresh produce. The seated dinners come with a selection of cheese and charcuterie plates, a choice of four passed hors d’oeuvres, one soup, one salad, one entree and one dessert. The stations menu includes a selection of plated cheese and charcuterie; four passed hors d’ouevres; and two stations, with choices of a paella station, a pasta station, a carving station or a grist mill station. Alcohol is available.
Even though the museum is housed within a historic building, the space has been redesigned with modern, clean lines and simple contemporary decor. Upon entering, guests are immediately greeted by a soaring three-story, circular lobby space that acts as the grand welcoming point for events; floor-to-ceiling glass walls give guests a glimpse of the river beyond. In addition to enjoying the meeting space, guests can break with a guided or self-guided tour of the museum, visit the gift shop or lunch in the Millstone Café, with farm-to-table cuisine. The museum also owns an authentic Steinway grand piano that is available for meetings and events.
Roaming the Grounds
The six galleries, which are filled with famous American artwork, are available for viewing during events, but visitors also have access to the museum’s grounds before and after events. The natural beauty of the area is nearly as significant as its art history. Guests can visit the Kuerner Farm, which is frequently featured in Andrew Wyeth’s artwork, or roam the 15 acres to themselves experience the native plant gardens and river trail that inspired so many artists throughout the years.
Brandywine River Museum
Location: Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania
Type of Venue: Off-site, museum and park
Capacity: 600 guests
Nearby Accommodations: Wyndham Garden, Glen Mills, Wilmington